EU: Concern about pig tail-biting
Increased tail-biting can be a result of poor living
conditions for intensively farmed pigs, according to an EU animal health and
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel on Animal Health and Welfare
says that the absence of straw, slatted floors and a barren environment can lead
to the problem of tail-biting.
A review of European legislation on minimum standards for the protection of
pigs has been published by the panel along with two recent reports on housing
and husbandry practices for adult breeding boars, pregnant and farrowing sows
and unweaned piglets, and fattening pigs.
The review follows a request by the Commission to assess the risks associated
with tail-biting in pigs, and possible ways of reducing the need for
tail-docking through different housing and husbandry systems.
The panel concluded that tail-docking can
reduce the frequency of tail-biting under common intensive farming conditions,
but does not completely eliminate the problem under unfavourable conditions.
More research is suggested to address the difference in the amount of
tail-biting in docked and undocked pig populations in different housing systems,
the severity and duration of chronic pain and the effect of genetic,
environmental, age and sex differences on the occurrence of tail-biting.
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